New WWE Champion has given the wrestling world an insight into his less than savoury character early in his career.
A self confessed ‘arsehole’ in the years following his 2002 debut, the stories of Orton’s misbehaviour and lack of respect are numerous. On the latest edition of ‘WWE Untold’ on the WWE Network, Orton opens up about one specific incident he ranks as one of his biggest regrets in wrestling – namely his approach to his match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 21 – arguably the biggest match of his career at that point.
In the episode, dedicated to the Orton/Undertaker rivalry in 2005, Orton goes into depth about the incident. He says:
“I got a little side story. It doesn’t really show me in the best light, but let’s face it, I was 24 and I was a little bit of a prick back then. So, we have the Hall Of Fame and we have WrestleMania, [and] the day of the Hall Of Fame, that morning, we had rehearsal. It was my father, John Laurinaitis who was our agent, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat who was also our agent, one of the referees, I believe it was Michael Chioda, and the Undertaker were all a part of this rehearsal, but there was a sixth man that was supposed to be there too. It was me. Let’s just say I got into a little bit of trouble and didn’t get much sleep – just in case my kids are watching. Now keep in mind, this is my second WrestleMania and I’m 24. I’m being given the world! My f**king dad is there! Taker is there. I got down there just as they were finishing up and they were walking out. I’ve worked with the Undertaker for a year and it all started off with me missing rehearsal for the biggest match of the year. A lot of people may have opinions about me earlier in my career, but nobody considers myself more of an asshole than I do. So, Take, if you’re watching, thank you for not bitching me out, cursing me out or choke-slamming my ass to hell after I missed that rehearsal. That’s probably one of my biggest regrets in the business – letting you men down that night. But now as a father, a husband, a 40-year-old man, I think that I see now how wrong that was, and when I’m in the locker room and I’m talking to the young guys and girls in the back and trying to teach them about the little things, I always go back to where I started, and I knew that if it wasn’t for Undertaker, none of this would’ve ever happened.”
Whilst clearly a new man as a husband and a father, the story sounds typical of what we know of Orton in his 20s. One can only imagine the levels of indignation his colleagues must have felt at the time. Only his supreme level of talent and (at the time), potential could possibly have saved Orton’s career in those years.
Credit to EWrestling.com for the transcription.